Vikings: an Archer’s Journey – Worthy of Valhalla

Nov 4, 2017
Arcade

The infinite runner genre never ceases to amaze me. Every time I think I’ve seen all it has to offer, something like Vikings shows up and proudly presents itself to prove me otherwise. Not that I mind – especially when the title is as incredibly solid as Vikings.

Vikings: an Archer’s Journey is the tale of a pink-haired archer off to defeat frost giants and save her pet wolf. While the story is scant, that’s not why you’re here. Vikings is about art and gameplay working in perfect cohesion. Beautiful watercolor visuals paint a vivid world springing to life with personality and charm.  Picture a combination of Monument Valley and Disney’s Brave. The result is one of the most aesthetically arresting games I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing on handheld.

This artful visual design is complimented by a splendid score and audio landscape. Vikings‘ tunes are lively but subdued, letting you enjoy the experience without bombarding your ears. Instead, the minimal beats and charming whistle of your bow through the air enchant you into a focused yet whimsical state of pure fun.

Still, all of this would be for naught if the game didn’t play properly. Thankfully, Vikings is yet another brilliant example of a simple, elegant control scheme. All you do is shoot and jump. One thumb handles aiming your bow like out of Angry Birds. The other you tap to leap into the air. Each has their own portion of the screen, and you can even chain them together for mid-air kills.

Platforming hazards, dive bombing ravens, shield clutching giants, and more all slowly coalesce into a flowing challenge that's perfect for a quick run or an intense test of skill.

The depth to Vikings might seem lacking at first, but that’s simply because the game is slowly acquainting you with its mechanics. Over time, you face new enemies and obstacles. Platforming hazards, dive bombing ravens, shield clutching giants, and more all slowly coalesce into a flowing challenge that’s perfect for a quick run or an intense test of skill. Power-ups like slow-down and multi-arrow shots further wrinkle the playing field, as do upgrades, slowly but surely earned through in-game currency.

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Remarkably, even the freemium elements are relatively minor. While there is the option to buy gold coins to unlock upgrades quickly, the only other notable inclusion is the option to watch a thirty second ad for a free revive once per run. As free to play monetization goes, Vikings is more than reasonable.

I struggle to find anything wrong with Vikings. It’s tale is light on words, but is just as harrowing as any epic of old. Definitely give this one a try.

Our Rating

ProsCons
Beautiful in motion and in design, Vikings is top of the class for 2017's infinite runner genre.Lack of story integration is an, if minor, unfortunate misstep.
Rating
9/10

Vikings: an Archer's Journey
Vikings: an Archer's Journey
Developer:
Price: Free+
Vikings: an Archer's Journey
Vikings: an Archer's Journey
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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at GameCritics.com, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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